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NASA Facts Allouette Canada's First Satellite

NASA Facts Allouette Canada's First Satellite

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Published by Bob Andrepont

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Published by: Bob Andrepont on Mar 23, 2011
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·
.
'
~
..
~
.
~
N ~
,:
. ~
:..
".
".
(F-12-62)
Rev.
1964
NASA
FACTS
An
Educational Services Publication
of
the
National
Aeronautics
and
Space Administration
ALOUETTE-CANADA'S
FIRST
SATELLITE
..
,
.
ONE OF
13
WORLDWIDETElEMETRY STATIONS RECEIVINGTOP
SIDE DATA
FROM
ALOUETTE
Technical
illustration by
the
Canadian
Defence
Research
Telecommunications
Establishm
e
nt depicts
ground
,
sounding rocket
,
and topside-sounder satellite
studies
of
the
ionosphere
.
The
E
and
F
layers
de
signat
e
reg
ions
of
different
electron density
.The F
layer
contains the greatest concentration
of
electrons
Page 1
 
Page
2
SOUNDING
IONOSPHERE
FROM
ABOVE
Canada
's
Alouette
satellite,launched
Septem
ber
28,
1962,
is
sending
data that
is
not only
advancing
scientific
knowledge
of
the ionosphere
but also
may
contribute
to improvement
of
radio
communication
on earth.
The
satellite
is
furnish
ing
this
important information
by carrying
out
from above
investigations that
for
years
havebeen
conducted
by
ionosondes from
the
ground.lonosondes
are
instruments
used
to
study
the
ionosphere
by
radio-echo sounding.
In
radio
echo
sounding,
radio
signals
are
beamedto
the
ionosphere,
and
the
ionosphere's
ability
to
re-
flect
them
is
determinedand
analyzed.
Radio waves
are
reflected
only
if
the
electrons
in
the
ionosphere are sufficiently
concentratedto
act
as a
mirror for
the
radiofrequencyemployed.
As
frequencies
rise,
increasing electron
density
is
required
to
turn signals
back
.
Generally,
electron
density
increases
withal
titude
up
to
about
200
miles
and
then tapers
off.Earth-originated
si
gnals that
can pass
through
the
ionospheric region
of
maximum
electron
density
cannot
for
the
most
part
be reflected
back
to earthby
the
less
dense
region
above.
*
As
a
result,
ground-basedsounding usually
can
not provideinformation
about
the
upper
ionosphere;
that
is,
the
ionosphere
above
the
zone
of
maximumelectron
density.
Moreover,
even
today
's
global
network
ofabout
150
ground
ionosondes
is
unable
to
cover the ionosphereover many areas
of
earth, especially
of
the
polar
and
equatorial
regions.Alouette
has
opened new
vistas in
ionospheric
research
by
extendingradio-echo
sounding
tech
niques
to
a
platform
in
space.
Covering
most
ofearth, Alouette
is
sending
radio
signals
downward and reporting
results.
*
A
minute
fraction
of
radio
signals,
amount
ing
to
as
little
as
1/10,000,000,
OOOth
of
trans
mission
strength,
is
reflected
back
toearth
by
col/is
ions
with
individual
electrons.
Only
a
fewhuge
radio
telescope
complexes,
such
as
at
Arecibo,
Puerto
Rico,
and
Li
ma,
Peru,
possess
the
power
and
sensitivity
to
pick
up
such
faintreflections.
NASA
FACTS
(F-12-62)
DEFINITIONS
Electron-o
negotively-charged constituentof
the
atom
.
lon-o
molecule
or
atom
which
has
lo
st
or
gainedan
electron,
thereby
acquiring
an
electri
c
al
charge.
lonosonde-an
instrument employing
r
adar
principles
that
is
used
for
studyofthe ionosphe
re
by
radio-echo
sounding
.
Ionosphere-an
electrifiedregion
of
the
-atmosphere
be
ginning
about
40
miles
above earth.
It
reflects
certain
radio
signals,
making possible
wor
ld
radiocommunication.
Its
upper
limit
is
as
yet
undetermined
.
Radio-Echo
Sounding-a
method of studying
the
i
ono
sphere
by
bouncing
radio
signals from it
.A
particular
radio
frequency
will
be reflected
when
ithits
a
given
electrondensity
.
Thus
,
the
reflected
frequency
dis
closes
the
existence
of
a
given
elect
r
ondensity
and
the return
time
indicates
the
distanc
eat
wh
i
ch
elec
tron density
was encountered
.
Topside
Saunding-rad
i
o-echo
sounding
f
rom
an altitude
above the
regionofmaximum electron density
.
Con
trasted
with
bottomside
sounding
from
ground
stations
.
EXPERIMENT
DESCRIPTIONS
Alouette
is
designed
principal
ly
to
measure
by
latitude,
daily
and
seasonalfluctuationselectron density
of
the
upper
ionosphe
re.
Ca
nadian
scientists
are
particularl
y
interested
in
data
onthe
Arctic ionosphere
that
could throw
new
light
upon the
severe
and
prolonged
dis
turbances
that
plague
radio
communication
in
their nation's
northern
areas
.
The
ionosphere
is
formed
by
a
break-up
of
neutral atmospheric
molecules
i
nto
negatively
chargedelectrons
and
positively
charged
ions.
This results
largely
from absorp
t
ionby
the
at
mosphere
of
X-rays
and
ultra-violet
light
fromthe
sun
and
by
impact
of
solar energe
ti
c
particles
(chiefly
protons)
on
atmospheric
molecu
les.In
effect, the
ionosphere
is
an
electrically
charged
gas
curtain
in the
sky.
One
property
of
this curtain
is
that
it
reflects
certain
radio
waves,
making
possible
world radio
communicat
ion.
Solar eruptions, however, affect
thei
onosphere,
leading
at
times
to disruption or
comple
te
blackout
of
radio
communication
.
Alouette
sounds
the
i
onosphe
re
by
"
swe
ing"
radio
frequencies
across
it
. "
Sweepin
frequencies
is
analogous
to
running up and down
a
musical scale.
By
bouncing
appro
x
imately
 
(F-12-62)
ull-scale
Alouette
model
is
checked
by
Canadian
scien
sts.
Protruding
from
mi
d-section
are
ends
of
Alouette
's
ng
sounding
antennas,retracted
as
during
launch
.
00
different
frequencies between
1.6
and
11.5megacycles
from
the
ionosphere,
Alouette
measures
preciselyand
in
detail
electron
densities
atvarious
altitudes
over al
most
the
entire
globe,
To
supplement
data
from
its
sounding
experi
ment,
Alouette
picks
up
cosmic
noise
and natural
radio
signals
originating within
the
ionosphere.Cosmic noise
is a
term
for natural
radio
signals
orignating
in
outer
space.
The
frequency
at
which
Alouette
stops
receiving
cosmic noise
in
dicates electron
density
inthe
satellite's
vicinity.
Radio
signals
within
theionosphere
are produced
by
its
fast-moving
electrons. Their volume
(loudness)varies
with
electron density.
In
another
ex peri ment,
Alouette gauges
the
intensities
of
high-energyradiation
in
space, in
cluding naturally-produced
cosmic rays
and
the
artificial radiation
created
by
the United
States
lear experiment
of
July
9,
1962.
(On that
-
e,
a
hydrogen bomb detonated about
250
iles
above
Johnston
Island
in
the
Pacific
Ocean
_
mitted
a
flux
of
high-energy
electrons
that
be-
Page
3
came
trapped
in the earth
's
magnetic
field
.
Alouette's
orbit
is
within
theresulting
radiation
zone.) Experimenters
will
attemptto
determine
more
precisely therelationshipsbetween
changes
in
the
ionosphere and
changesintheintensity
of
high-energy
radiation
inspace
.
SPACECRAFT
DESCRIPTION
The
320-pound,
nearlyoval
Alouette
is
42
inches
in
diameter
and
34
inches
high.
It
is
encrusted
with
about
6500
solar
cells
that
convert
sunlight
to
electricity
for
running
satellite instruments
.
Rechargeablenickel
cadmium
bat
teries
power Alouette
when the
satellite
is
onthe
earth's
night
side.
They
also
furnished electricity
from
launch
until
Alouette
was
in
orbit
and
its
solar
cells
were
functioning.
recharged
byelectricity
that
is
satellite
instrumentation
.
The
batteri
es
arenot
used
by
other
Alouette'ssounding
equipment
includes
two
long
antennas-one
150
feetin
lengthand
'the
other
75
feet.
The
150-foot
antenna
is
believed
the
longest ever
employed
on
a
spacecraft.
The
antennas areextended
in
the
shape
of
a cross.
They
are fashioned
from thin
strips
of
spring
steel
that
were
coiled
like
measuring
tapes
at
launch and
unwound by
a
motor-driven
spool
shortly
after
the
satellite
wasin
orbit.
Other
major
equipment
includes
radiationparticle
detectors;
radio
receivers,
amplifiers,
transmitters,
and
other
antennas
for
experiments
and telemetry;
and associatedelectronic
ap-
paratus.
Canadian
technicians
prepare
a
prototyp
e
Alouette
for
thermal
tests.
Powerful
arc
li
ghtsin this vacuum
cham
ber
si
mulated
on
the
prototype
exposure
to
the
sun's
heat
anticipated
on thesatell
i
te in spac
e.

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